It comes as no surprise to me and yes I see the irony that this post is being written at 2.21am in the morning as I have always suffered from insomnia, but my sleeping pattern or ability to sleep got much worse when I became a mum and my insomnia became “mumsomnia”.
It started pretty much from the moment we brought Maxi home. I had been told to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I couldn’t. For the first couple of weeks, I was wired. I survived on very little sleep and my house was pristine, I would be up ironing at 4 in the morning and I thought I was OK. From that point forward things got worse. Maxi wasn’t the best sleeper, he cried, a lot, all the time, night and day. Even when I managed to get to sleep the slightest sound from him had me wide awake and then it took hours to get back to sleep.
Then the crazy set in! I would stay awake, sure that the moment I fell asleep he would have me awake and that it was easier to just stay awake, yes, stay awake!
In the end, I sought professional help. It didn’t solve my insomnia, but it did give me tools to help me cope.
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Five Insomnia Cures for Mums
Make your bedroom comfortable
I need dark, pitch-blackness preferably. So we have blackout blinds and we remove as much light from the room as possible. For me, this means taping over things that glow. Not having an alarm with light-up numbers or a clock that ticks and also shut doors. I wish I could cope with an eye mask, but it just bugs me!
Comfort is also about sound and I have real issues with noise. I have tried all sorts of earplugs and recently discovered QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds. They are an investment, but one I would be happy to make as nothing is better than sleep. My boys are teenagers now and I go to bed before them and often was awoken by one of them shouting when on their video games. That hasn’t happened once since I have been wearing Quieton Sleep Earbuds. I had also been waking at dawn and the dawn chorus was preventing me from going back to sleep. All I need do is pop them back in (as I seem to take them out when I am asleep) and the birds a silenced.
Ensure your bedroom is not too hot or too cold, scientists recommend just over 18C (65F).
Caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for 12 hours. I make sure that my last cup of tea or any drink with caffeine in is at 4pm. This works for me. Even green tea has caffeine in! Beware there is caffeine in things that you would never guess, Coca Cola do a fab caffeine counter.
Research has shown that lavender helps improve the quality of sleep. I have been using a Lumie Bodyclock Iris and love it. The Iris is unique as it combines the benefits of a gradual sunset and sunrise with aromatherapy diffusion. At night I diffuse Lavender oil with Roman Camomile. I really rate Neoms essential oils, the bedtime heroes (camomile, Ylang Ylang & Cedarwood) and Scent to sleep (Lavender, Basil and Jasmine) are both brilliant. You can get them both as pillow mists too (I have Who’s the Mummy to thank for introducing them to me).
Try to relax before going to bed
Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax the mind and body. Some people find white noise works well for them or reading before bed. Meditation can help too. One of the benefits of a Bodyclock is the fading sunset which helps me naturally unwind at bedtime. The sunset is a signal for your body to step up the production of the sleep hormone melatonin so you’re relaxed and ready for bed. I have had a Lumi light for 20 plus years and both the boys have one too.
Reduce exposure to screens and blue light
Light towards the blue end of the spectrum is especially bad for encouraging sleep. Computer screens, tablets, smartphones and LED lighting all emit blue light. We had a no screens after 6pm rule for the boys until they were 14. I know that I sleep better when I do not use screens late in the evening and I really need to practice what I preach more often. In fact, we have made the bedroom a technology-free zone as part of a challenge from Silentnight it is still that way 4 years later. We kept the boys’ bedrooms technology free until the pandemic.
If you have tried all of these, then I have some more tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
I wish I could tell you that my long-time insomnia has been cured, it hasn’t, but I am a lot more relaxed about not getting and staying asleep, which improved the quality of any sleep I receive.
What are your tips for curing insomnia?